Traffic injuries on the nation’s highways have declined every year since 1995, but teenagers continue to be disproportionately affected by crashes, according to figures released yesterday by the U.S. Transportation Department. The Washington Post reports that teenagers make up more than 16 percent of all crash-related victims, even though they make up only 8 percent of the driving public, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters said.
“In the test of life, teenage drivers are failing at twice the rate as the rest of us,” Peters said. She announced new safe-driving initiatives aimed at teenagers, including grants to promote seat belt use and discourage drunken driving, and a competition to develop innovative advertising and educational materials to encourage young people to drive safely. Two states will be awarded $300,000 each to promote seat belt use, and two states will be awarded $100,000 each to help combat drunken driving through detection technology.